welcome Gryla Awaits
Iceland Visitor Center 2019
The Black Lava Fields Visitor Center, along with the Volcano Museum and the Thermal Springs Guest House, is one of three proposed projects connected by a common design language intended to provide way-finding for travelers. Referencing the vernacular architecture, lore and geological history of the area, they are intended to feel of the earth, while framing the views of the landscape and natural landmarks.
These three designs have fractured planes of earth playing off of the balance between an inward comfort center to an outward movement connecting to the landscape, yet each building is a direct response its specific site and intended purpose. This approach can be extended a larger number of structures at additional sites throughout the region visually anchored by the Hverfjall Volcano.
With this proposal, we wish to celebrate the beauty of Iceland, while honoring its story and myths.
THE VISITOR CENTER
Dimmuborgir is an important tourist site, welcoming roughly one and a half times as many visitors each year as the entire population of Iceland, whose value lies in its natural beauty and in its significance to Icelandic folklore. We aimed to design a building, which highlights both of these factors by fusing with the landscape.
The form of the building takes inspiration form the fracturing of land that has occurred due to the geothermal activity, seemingly pushing new forms up to the surface of the earth. The entry walls, which face the visitor on approach, recall the Dark Castle formation in shape and texture and are meant to reference and illicit the thrill felt by early visitors to the site, where terrible creatures were believed to dwell. In contrast, the simple interior is open, light and welcoming reflecting Icelandic hospitality and allowing the visitor to focus on the stunning views.